Durham Travel Guide: Best Areas & Neighborhoods to Stay

Durham is one of the most-visited destinations in North Carolina, suitable for travelers keen on exploring the alternative lifestyle, architecture, a little bit of history, technology, and scholarly institutions.

The city is a part of the Triangle, which comprises Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill. Durham is one of the busiest tourist destinations in North Carolina and offers plenty of things to do and see at any time of the year, from exploring the reputable Duke University campus to touring the American Tobacco District. 

Things to Do & See in Durham

There are a lot of things to do and see in Durham, from history & culture, arts to a wide range of fun activities. 

Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Sarah P. Duke Gardens is a great place to walk, take photos, have a picnic, relax on a date, and read books. The garden has several themed-areas, a perfect fusion of landscape, architecture, and horticulture on 55 acres of land. It features beautiful and colorful scenery, and it’s always a different experience, depending on the season. 

Nasher Museum of Art

A small art museum located on Duke University‘s campus. The building has vast open spaces, bright and easy to walk around. Its permanent exhibitions are pretty solid and unique, especially the medieval and Greek collections. Its temporary displays are excellent, including classical and contemporary arts. Thursdays are open to the public free of charge at the Nasher Museum. Don’t forget to try delicious food at the museum’s cafe.


See Also: An Ultimate Guide to Durham, North Carolina – Part 1


American Tobacco Campus

The historic tobacco factory area is part of a large urban redevelopment project in Downtown Durham. The headquarters of the American Tobacco Company, it’s one of the converted warehouses in the area that also features different types of properties, including condos, lofts, townhomes, and single-family homes. The fast-developing cultural hotspot of Downtown Durham is home to the triangle’s “disruptive innovation” with great architecture and design.

Durham’s Hiking and Biking Trails

From the American Tobacco Trail (a 22.6-mile trail), the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail to the rolling hills of the Oak Ridges Moraine, Durham is full of recreational opportunities. A perfect blend of urban and natural aesthetics, the trails are well laid-out, snaking along rivers and hills. These hiking and biking paths offer a safe and affordable way to take care of your mental health while vacationing in Durham. 

Duke University Golf Club

A well-kept course with excellent amenities. Classical design by Robert Trent Jones Sr with flowing fairways through tall pines and hardwoods, directional bunkering, and visible hazards. Duke University Golf Club is a eighteen-hole, par 72 championship golf course with elevated target greens. It’s unbelievably affordable, compared to other top-quality courses in Durham.

Frankie’s Fun Park (Raleigh)

Head to Raleigh from Durham to have a fun day with your family. Frankie’s of Raleigh is a fun park with great outdoors and indoors activities such as video games, go-karts, bumper boats, mini-golf, laser tag, and more. The cost of admission for each arcade game can get pricey. The mini-theme park is, nonetheless, one of the best locations in North Carolina for a great time with the family or fun with friends.


The Best Areas to Stay: Downtown Durham & Research Triangle Park

Best areas to stay in Durham

Downtown Durham has its own vibe, character and highlights. The neighborhood is rapidly growing with an impressive selection of well-priced, well designed, and beautifully appointed homes. Many new businesses are opening every day. The area has some of the best art galleries, shopping arcades, and award-winning restaurants in the whole of North Carolina.

With accommodation in Durham taking most of every traveler’s budget, deciding where to stay may be essential. There are several accommodation options, well-appointed furnished apartments, and houses perfect for international students, business executives and leisure travelers including groups of friends and families. 

Best areas to stay in Durham
Viagem apartments in downtown Durham – Lobby and Social Amenities

You can choose from the many Downtown Durham apartments available. This includes studio, 1, 2 & 3 bedroom private apartments in shared building complexes with a friendly and inviting atmosphere.  The apartments are well-appointed with a contemporary kitchen with espresso cabinets and stainless-steel appliances, lighting fixtures, full-size washers, and dryers, and air conditioning.

Most of the building complexes feature a wide range of modern amenities. This includes swimming pools, outdoor fireplace, outdoor bbq grill areas, Wi-Fi lounge, coffee bar, expansive fitness centers, and business centers. 

Best areas to stay in Durham
Viagem apartments in downtown Durham – Communal rooftop deck

All these apartments also have easy access to all Durham & the Research triangle park has to offer. 

Viagem offers a variety of beautifully furnished apartments in Downtown Durham and RTP. Browse the various Viagem accommodation types for your stay in Durham.

Looking for the best areas to stay in Durham? Here’s a lowdown on our spotlight neighborhoods.

Trinity Park

Trinity Park is located just between the Brightleaf district of downtown Durham and Duke East Campus. It’s one of the oldest central neighborhoods in Durham. The historic district is within 40 blocks of tree-lined streets and boasts some of the most beautiful accommodations in the area. It’s a very walkable district with sidewalks visible throughout the whole area. It features varieties of well-kept homes with superb landscaping, from large, traditionally styled apartments to smaller bungalows.

Lakewood

The fledgling Lakewood corner of the city has an abundance of new housing developments and significant home renovations. The fast-changing neighborhood has, in the last few years, added a good number of thrift stores, new restaurants, cafes, and more. It stretches from Morehead Avenue on the north to Chapel Hill Boulevard on the south. Despite its smart and futuristic new designs, the area still keeps its historic integrity from the Lakewood Park Historic District of the 20th century.

Duke Park

Duke Park is a safe district, well-lit with well-kept yards, and accessible parking. The peaceful neighborhood located north of Downtown stands out for its many modernist homes and a holiday spirit. Most of these homes developed through the 1950s afford kids to play outside and enjoy community events. The area has a stunning 17-acre park with greenway access, playgrounds, and more.


See Also: An Ultimate Guide to Durham, North Carolina – Part 2


Old West Durham

Old West Durham has a vibrant blend of residents from families, young professionals to veterans. It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in Durham, somewhere west of Downtown, just by Ninth Street – a popular area between Duke University East and West Campuses. It’s a trendy area with a variety of restaurants, groceries, great nightlife, cafes, shopping, arts, and entertainment hot spots, and fitness centers.

Cleveland-Holloway

The neighborhood was developed during the heydays of the textile industry in downtown Durham in the late 19th century. Settled in a walkable distance east of Downtown Durham, Cleveland-Holloway is close to the side attractions of the city. It is 25 minutes to the University of North Carolina, 10 minutes to Duke and North Carolina Central University, some 15 minutes drive to the airport, and 45 to Raleigh. An area lined with beautiful homes of irregular designs (ornate Victorian homes, bungalows, or duplexes), cafes, shopping, and fitness centers.

Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill is the great place to stay in the Triangle region. Although the area is quiet, it’s growing fast, and it has become a favorite among Durham visitors. It features modern architecture, beautiful building apartments, and a wide range of educational facilities including University of North Carolina. It offers a wide range of exciting things to see and do. You will find several restaurants, coffee shops, trails, and parks in some of its neighborhoods. You can easily explore some of its areas on foot, and they are perfectly connected to all the other parts of Durham and RTP.

Other beautiful areas to stay in Durham and the Research Triangle Park includes Apex, Morrisville, Cary and Wake Forest.

Viagem apartment style in downtown Durham

For more inspirations about where to stay in Durham, see our collection of apartments in Downtown Durham and Research Triangle Park (RTP).